Jason meant well. But his efforts to help the butterfly-to-be only ended in disaster. For days he had watched the cocoon and wondered what it would produce. Finally he noticed a tiny opening in the cocoon’s wall. On the other side, the new life form was struggling furiously – desperately – to be free of its self-designed prison. Feeling compassion for the little creature, the boy found a sharp knife and carefully cut the cocoon’s wall in order to relieve it from its struggle.
The butterfly soon died. Its wings were grossly deformed, and it was unable to fly. What appeared to be a struggle was actually the process by which the animal’s wings are formed. Jason had short-circuited the process, and the results, though unintentional, were tragic.
You and I are very much like the butterfly. We are often wrapped up in our own kinds of cocoons – alone, stifled, limited, longing to be free. Sometimes these are prisons of our own doing – addictions, bondage to sin, broken relationships, stupid decisions. At other times our cocoons are thrust upon us in the form of disappointments, losses of loved ones, extended illnesses, or the abuse of others. Either way, the results are the same. Why do we feel so alone? What in the world is God up to? Where will we ever find relief? When will we be “free to fly” again? How will we make it through another day? [click to continue…]
Had coffee with a sweet friend last week. She was describing the amazing things the Lord has worked in her life over the summer as she has gone through a wonderfully painful, gloriously gut-wrenching season. Each day the Lord has brought new strength, insights, healing, and refreshing as she prepares for a future that is far less certain… but far more peaceful.
Did you get that?
Far less certain, but far more peaceful.
Like many people, she had defined peace and satisfaction in terms of being able to predict what the future held (among other things). Now as she returns to school, she heads off into an unknown destiny, with lots of uncertainties. But she has a phenomenal peace that she is being held right in the center of God’s heart and hand.
Here’s how she expressed it to me. I was so touched, I wanted to share it with you (my paraphrase): [click to continue…]
It takes time and intention, this Soul-Anchoring Moment,
And a willingness to wait for those fleeting experiences
That are tomorrow’s soul roots.
(Did I mention a willingness to wait?)
A Soul-Anchoring Moment…
Maybe it’s the possibility of holding all of your scattered grandchildren in one day.
Or a chance to hear again the sounds common to your birthplace
And sigh with satisfaction at the most trivial and most special of memories. [click to continue…]
(The further adventures of Eugene Davis, Sophomore Christian)
“What would be s good time to come by your office?”
The voice on the other end of the phone was none other than Eugene Davis, Sophomore Christian and resident expert on all things spiritually enormous.
Normally Eugene would pop in, sort of like the Allies dropped by to pay the Germans a visit at Normandy. But this was different. It had the air of urgency. Eugene Davis was always serious and everything was important. But this was a step beyond. It was deliberate. Ruggedly precise. Appointment-worthy.
“I’m free about 3:00,” I said. ”What’s up?” (To this day I don’t like ambushes in meetings.)
“I think the Lord has given me a vision.”
“Well,” said I, ”I’ll be here. Come on by.”
Apparently I didn’t send the right signal. Didn’t catch the gravy of the situation. This was a vision. From God! [click to continue…]
This is a season of Death-By-To-Do-List. The quiet pause, lethargy, and feeding frenzy of the holidays are followed by the jump-started, resolution-driven frenzy of the New Year. So this morning I started my journaling by listing one or two things I still haven’t done this week. And the one or two became six or seven.
“I swear, I’ll die by checklist overload,” I wrote.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s missing in our life planning. It’s so easy to get lost in the whirlwind of the frenetic or even the focus of the goal-directed that we neglect some of the most significant parts of the plan.
I’m all about making mission statements that lead to goals lists that lead to action steps toward making those goals and mission a reality. I get it. I completely understand that if you aren’t taking massive action in the direction of your dreams you are probably kissing some of them good-bye.
How do you respond, however, when the dream or passion is completely authentic, but there is literally nothing you can do about it today – at least in outward to-do-list fashion? How do you keep the important, important, when it’s not front-and-center in your appointment book? [click to continue…]
On October 4, 1943, Bing Crosby recorded a song that captured the imagination of millions of Americans. Within three weeks it was on the top music charts, and remained there for 11 weeks. A year later, it returned to the charts again. Since then, it has been recorded by nearly 250 artists. It was the first song broadcast into space, and remains to this day one of the most cherished songs of all time.
Remember, the entire world was galvanized in a world war, and hundreds of thousands of American soldiers were in Europe, Africa, and the Pacific fighting for our future. Nearly the entire country was unified behind our fighting men.
The name of the song – “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”
Something about Christmas makes us want to go home, or at least to be somewhere with people we care about. [click to continue…]
I still miss her sometimes. Pity I’m so busy I don’t miss her more. For me it’s mostly in passing sighs… Like now. (-From my journal a couple of days ago, referring to my mother, who died earlier this year.)
Heard any sermons on longing lately?
I doubt it.
In spite of the fact that it’s such a common experience, and one that is treated a surprising number of times in the Bible, “Dealing with Longing” doesn’t typically generate offerings, baptisms, or slick series brochures from the local worship establishment.
And yet it’s there… right in plain sight. The Bible’s own version of “Miss You Like Crazy.”
Paul wrote those wild child Corinthians a pretty dress-you-down letter (we call it 1 Corinthians). Their response? They turned their hearts, and longed to see Paul. His reply? Same thing. [click to continue…]
Get this scene…
It’s the long-shadow season… a late-October Saturday afternoon. Alabama has just kicked off to Tennessee, and the rest of life has been put on hold. I’ve got the snacks and drinks, recliner set to football position, and it’s a glorious day.
That’s when I hear it. In those few seconds before the doorbell rings and the dogs go crazy, I hear the giggles of a gaggle of adolescents.
Two thoughts immediately flash by:
- I am obviously not living in Dixie, because nobody in their right mind there would be roaming the streets when the Tide ‘n’ Vols are on TV.
- I’m about to be scavenger hunted.
Sure enough, I open the door to a group of teenagers, and one of ‘em hands me a list. “We’re on a scavenger hunt. Do you have any of these things?”
Game on (while the other game is on pause). [click to continue…]
News flash! As a culture, we don’t wait well.
That’s why, in the previous post, I mentioned that it’s easy to get into trouble when we’re in those waiting seasons. (In theory, of course… not that I have ever actually gotten so impatient that somebody in a uniform decided it was time to have a little chat… but I’m sure you know somebody like that.)
One of the problems we have with waiting is that we don’t know how. We think of waiting as the kind of thing you do in a bureaucrat’s line or a doctor’s office (now you know why they call them “patients”).
In the Bible, James offers a different idea. And when I read this during a particularly hard waiting season, it really got my attention:
“The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts…” (James 5:7-8).
I happen to live in the middle of the largest contiguous cotton-growing region in the world. My neighbors know a thing or two about waiting on a harvest. Their livelihood depends on it. And believe me, you won’t find a busier bunch. [click to continue…]
“If you have been waiting longer than ten minutes, press eight. This will not speed up your call, but it will give you something to do while you wait.”(Message on an Airline Reservation Line)
“Waiting on the Lord is like sitting on a concrete bench.” (Source unknown)
I’ve been known to get in trouble in waiting rooms. Especially the examination room, where you sit there for God-only-knows-how-long before the doctor comes in. The other day I was playing with something that looked like a collapsible chin warmer… until my wife informed me it was a barf bag. And I’ve lost count of the number of latex glove turkeys I’ve made, or the number of peeks through those spiffy wall-mounted scopes.
And those doors that say, “Authorized personnel only”? I just authorize myself. I figure it’s just the doctors’ break room, where the really good snacks are.
I did say I’ve gotten in trouble, didn’t I?
There’s a different kind of waiting, however, where the stakes are much higher. But the potential for trouble is just as real. [click to continue…]